Thursday, February 28, 2008

Update: Sylvania Silverstar Headlight Bulb

If you've read this post, you know that I replaced my OEM H-4 headlight bulb with a Sylvania Silverstar. I've since become aware of reports of very short Silverstar bulb life, so I did a little research in case it was simply a case of folks getting greasy fingerprints on the bulbs during installation. It turns out the Silverstars do indeed have an extremely short life, in both motorcycles and cars, compared to standard OEM bulbs. Here is a reply direct from Sylvania: "Thank you for your inquiry and interest in Sylvania SilverStars. The SilverStars are a performance, premium halogen that have a significantly shorter life span than the standard. The shorter life span is directly related to the performance nature of the lamps. The amethyst colored coating on the glass contributes to the crisp white light emitted, but also traps heat inside the capsule, causing the filament to burn out more quickly, thus decreasing the life. Expected life is about a year, and is largely dependent upon your individual driving habits. The life of the product is decreased significantly if it is being used in a day time running light application. Estimated life in a day time running light application is at most 6 months." Similar information is found on Sylvania's website. I'm not sure what Sylvania considers a "daytime running light". I believe "true" DRLs are run at a lower voltage, which may increase heat. If so, lights that are on all the time but run at full voltage (like all modern US-spec motorcycles) would likely last longer. I always travel with a spare headlight bulb anyway, but this is good info to know. I may just replace my Silverstar at around 12 months instead of waiting for it to blow, because with my luck it'll happen 150 miles from the the rain.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Motorcycle Bloggers International Award Voting!

Following-up on my January 11th post, voting is now open for the Motorcycle Bloggers International Awards. Head on over and vote for the best and worst motorcycle products and ideas from 2007. You have until March 16, 2008 to make your vote count. The winners (and losers) will be announced on March 19th in the following categories:

Best concept motorcycle or scooter

Best manufacturer’s website

Best new motorcycle

Best new scooter

Most environmentally friendly motorcycle

Object of lust
(The production motorcycle of any model year that is desired above all others.)

Thumbs up
(The person or organization who during 2007 made the most significant contribution to motorcycling.)

Wish we’d thought of that
(For new in 2007 innovations, accessories or other motorcycle related products.)

Women riders booster of the year

Most disappointing new motorcycle

Thumbs down
(The person, company or organization who during 2007 most harmed the image of motorcycling.)

What were they thinking?
(The concept or production motorcycle, related product or other idea that is the worst idea of 2007.)

Worst manufacturer’s website

Monday, February 11, 2008

Motorcycle Safety Efforts by the NHTSA

Can we motorcyclist learns to love Big Brother? Given our checkered relationship with the NHTSA, the answer is unclear. However, I'm encouraged by the appearance of some recent safety and awareness efforts apparently spearheaded by USDOT Secretary Mary E. Peters, a self-described avid motorcyclist who was injured in a crash in 2005. Here is a recent Press Release, NHTSA's "Action Plan", and its educational safety campaign. The link also points to the DOT's 2007 crash, injury and fatality report. Like all such reports to date, it doesn't tell us much -- plenty of correlations, but scientific causations and in-depth statistical analyses are missing. Unfortunately, the insurance industry and other anti-motorcyclists will likely misuse this report to further their efforts. Time will tell if NHTSA's safety campaign will do any good, but it sure couldn't do any harm.